MANIBHAI MATHURBHAI Vs. GUJARAT REVENUE TRIBUNAL
HIGH COURT OF GUJARAT
GUJARAT REVENUE TRIBUNAL
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(1.) These are two petitions directed against the same order of the Revenue Tribunal and it would therefore be convenient to dispose them of by a common judgment. The facts giving rise to the two petitions are identical and it will therefore be sufficient to state the facts of Special Civil Application No. 66 of 1963 which is the prior of the two petitions in point of time. The second respondent in that petition is the trustee of a trust known as Padra Mahajan Panjarapole Trust. The trust owns six different pieces of land Survey No. 202/1 admeasuring O Acre 29 gunthas situate in Ghayaj Survey No. 266 admeasuring 1 Acre 28 gunthas situate in Pandava and S. No. 244/2 admeasuring 1 acre 14 gunthas S. No. 534 admeasuring 1 Acre 34 gunthas Survey No. 535 admeasuring O Acre 16 Gunthas and S. No. 815 admeasuring 2 3 gunthas situate in Padra. These lands are in the possession of different tenants one of the tenants being the petitioner who is the tenant of Survery Numbers 534 and 535 The trust is registered as a public trust objects of the trust are maintenance of a Panjrapole and a Parabadi. Since according to the second respondent the lands belonging to the trust were exempt from certain provisions of the Bombay Tenancy and Agricultural Lands Act 1948 (hereinafter referred to as the Act) by reason of sec. 88B(1)(b) of the Act the second respondent made an application to the Collector under sec. 88B(2) for a certificate that the conditions specified in the proviso to sec. 88B(1) were satisfied by the trust. The application stated that the trust was for a Panjrapole and the entire income of the lands belonging; to the trust was appropriated for the purpose of the Panjrapole and the trust was registered under the Bombay Public Trusts Act 1950 and both the conditions specified in the proviso to sec. 88B(1) were therefore satisfied and the second respondent Was accordingly entitled to a certificate under sec. 88B(2). Now it was an admitted fact that the trust maintained not only a Panjrapole but also a Parabadi and the question therefore arose before the Prant Officer who heard the application as to whether the trust could be said to be a trust exclusively for Panjrapole. The contention urged on behalf of the petitioner and the other tenants to whom notice of the application was issued by the Prant Officer was that Parabadi could not be legitimately regarded as a part of Panjrapole and the trust was therefore not a trust exclusively for Panjrapole but was a composite trust for Parabadi as well as Panjrapole and no certificate for exemption under sec. 88B(1)(b) could therefore be granted in respect of the lands belonging to the trust. This contention was sought to be repelled by the second respondent by a twofold argument. The first argument was that Parabadi was a part of Panjarapole and therefore though one of the objects of the trust was maintenance of the Parabadi the trust did not cease to be a trust for Panjarapole. This argument was negatived by the Prant Officer on the ground that Parabadi was not included within the concept of Panjrapole and therefore the trust was a composite trust for Panjrapole and Parabadi and was not a trust exclusively for Panjrapole. The second argument urged on behalf of the second respondent was that in any event if Parabadi was not included in Panjrapole there were two distinct and separate trusts one for Panjrapole and the other for Parabadi the trust for Panjrapole being in respect of Survey Nos. 202/1 266 214 and 534 while the trust for Parabadi being in respect of Survey Nos. 535 and 815 and the entire income of the respective lands belonging to these two trusts was appropriated for the respective purposes of the two trusts. This alternative argument also did not find favour with the Prant Officer who took the view that though in the Record of Rights Survey Nos. 202/1 266 244 and 534 were shown as lands for Panjrapole and Survey Numbers 535 and 815 were shown as lands for Parabadi the income from all these lands was amalgamated into one account and whatever amounts were required for Panjrapole and Parabadi were paid out of this account indiscriminately as if there was one single trust and not two distinct and separate trusts. The Prant Officer observed that the accounts produced by the second respondent as also the evidence of the second respondent did not establish that the entire income of the lands alleged to be set apart for Panjrapole was appropriated for the purposes of the Panjrapole and the entire income of the lands alleged to be set apart for Parabadi was appropriated for the purposes of the Parabadi and the second condition of the proviso to sec. 88B(1) was therefore in any event not satisfied. The Prant Officer in this view of the matter rejected the application of the second respondent for a certificate of exemption under sec. 88B(2).
(2.) The second respondent thereupon preferred a Revision Application to the Reveue Tribunal. The Revenue Tribunal agreed with the Prant Officer in so far as the first argument was concerned and held that Parabadi was not a part of Panjrapole and the trust could not therefore be said to be a trust exclusively for Panjrapole. The trust observed the Revenue Tribunal was a composite trust for Parabadi as well as Panjrapole and the lands belonging to the trust were therefore not within the exemption granted under sec. 88B(1)(b). The second argument however found favour with the Revenue Tribunal and on this argument the Revenue Tribunal took a different view from that taken by the Prant Officer. The Revenue Tribunal held on a consideration of the entries in the Record of Rights that Survey Nos. 202/1 266 244 and 534 were set apart for the Panjrapole and Survey Nos. 535 and 815 were set apart for the Parabadi and therefore though the trust was registered as a single trust under the Bombay Public Trusts Act 1950 it comprised in effect and substance two distinct and separate trusts one in respect of Survey Nos. 202/1 266 244 and 534 for the Panjrapole and the other in respect of Survey Nos. 535 and 815 for the Parabadi. The Revenue Tribunal then proceeded to consider whether the entire income of Survey Nos. 202/1 256 244 and 534 which were lands belonging to the trust for the Panjrapole was appropriated for the purposes of the Panjrapole and on this point the Revenue Tribunal came to the conclusion on an appreciation of the evidence before it that the entire income of these lands was appropriated for the purposes of the Panjrapole. The Revenue Tribunal accordingly came to the conclusion that the second respondent was entitled to a certificate in respect of Survey Nos. 202/1 266 244 and 53 which were the properties of the trust for the Panjrapole and so far as Survey Nos. 535 and 815 were concerned since those lands were the properties of the trust for the Parabadi the second respondent was not entitled to an exemption certificate in respect of those lands. the petitioner and the second respondent were both dissatisfied with this decision of the Revenue Tribunal since the effect of the decision was that each of the petitioner and the second respondent partly won and partly lost. The petitioner lost in respect of Survey Nos. 534 while the second respondent lost in respect of Survey Nos. 535 and 815 The petitioner therefore preferred Special Civil Application No. 66 of 1963 and the second respondent preferred Special Civil Application No 67 of 1963 both the Special Civil Applications being directed against the same decision of the Revenue Tribunal.
(3.) It will be convenient to first dispose of Special Civil Application No. 67 of 1963 since that raises the question whether Parabadi is a part of Panjrapole. If Parabadi is a part of Panjrapole the trust would be clearly and indubitably a trust exclusively for Panjrapole and in that event notwithstanding that a part of the income of the lands belonging to the trust is spent for maintenance of the Parabadi it would be possible to say that the entire income of the trust is appropriated for the purposes of the Panjrapole and the conditions specified in sec. 88B(1)(b) and the proviso to sec. 88B(1) would be satisfied. It would not be necessary in that event to go into the question whether the trust was a single indivisible trust for two purposes namely Panjrapole and Parabadi or consisted of two distinct and separate trusts one for Panjrapole and the other for Parabadi. Sec. 88(1)(b) refers to lands which are the property of a trust for Panjrapole and it is therefore evident that the lands belonging to the trust in the present case cannot come within sec. 88B(1)(b) unless the trust is a trust for Panjrapole. The trust in order to attract the applicability of sec. 88B(1)(b) must be a trust of which the object of bounty is Panjrapole. Now what is Panjrapole is not defined in any provision of the Tenancy Act and one would therefore have to go by the ordinary meaning of that word. The word Panjrapole is in its origin a Gujarati word and whatever might be its etymological meaning it has acquired a popular meaning which is now quite well-known in the Gujarati language. According to that meaning Panjrapole means a place where old infirm or uncared for animals are housed and taken care of by way of charity. Panjrapole is not a term of art and therefore this meaning which is the natural and commonly accepted meaning of the term must be given to the word Panjrapole. Mr. L. T. Shah learned advocate appearing on behalf of the second respondent relied on the meaning of the word Panjrapole given in Bhagwadgomandal which is the standard dictionary in the Gujarati language where the meaning given is :- *** Mr. L. T. Shah contended that the word *** in this dictionary meaning refers to all living creatures including men animals and birds and therefore any place where birds are cared for and looked after would be a Panjrapole. Parabadi he submitted is a; place where grains and water are kept for feeding the birds and that according to him would be a Panjrapole within the intendment of this dictionary meaning. Now it is no doubt true that the word *** is used in the meaning of Panjrapole given in this dictionary but; that word is clearly used in reference to animals and does not comprise or birds. As a matter of fact Mr. M. I. Patel on behalf of the petitioner cited before me another standard dictionary in the Gujarati language which is published under the auspices of the Gujarat Vidyapith and in that dictionary which is called *** Panjrapole is defined to mean *** and that has clearly reference to animals and does not include birds. But apart from that even if the word *** were used to refer generally to all living creatures including birds Panjrapole cannot include Parabadi for Panjrapole is admittedly a place for old and infirm creatures while Parabadi would be a place for feeding of all birds whether old or infirm or not. The etymological meaning also cannot help for even if we construe the meaning of the word Panjrapole according to its etymology it must connote an idea of some cage or enclosure for the word used is *** which in the Gujarati language means a cage or enclosure and Parabadi is in no sense of the term a cage or enclosure for keeping the birds. Parabadi is nothing but a sort of open wooden structure on top of a pole where grains and water are kept so that the birds can come feed themselves on the grains drink water and fly away. Indubitably therefore whatever be the view from which one looks at the word Panjrapole it is not possible to regard Parabadi as included within the concept of Panjrapole. Now admittedly one of the objects of the trust was the maintenance of the Parabadi and therefore to the extent to which the trust was for maintenance of the Parabadi it was not a trust for Panjrapole. This contention urged on behalf of the second respondent must therefore be negatived and Special Civil Application No. 67 of 1963 preferred by the second respondent must be rejected and the rule discharged. [The rest of the judgment is not material for the reports ] Rule discharged.;
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